Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolute Change

I've never been a fan of New Year's Resolutions. Why be more focused on change this time of year than any other? But, more and more, I'm understanding that EVERY day should be one of resolute change. As a matter of fact, I am resolving to be a person of resolute change every day in 2010, and would challenge you to join me.

Simply put, "resolute" means, "firm in purpose or belief." And "change" means, "the action of making something different." What I'm resolving to do is firmly and purposefully act to make something different and more like Jesus. Yesterday I was reading a devotional thought by Oswald Chambers. He references John 6:66, which follows one of Jesus' hard sayings. In response to what Jesus told them, we read, "From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him." There are many times in our lives when we are faced with an idea or thought from Jesus that seems hard, or isn't what we want. In response, we just kinda ignore it, or decide we will deal with it some other way so that we can continue unchanged. In essence, our lack of change shows that we've decided not to follow Jesus on this point. Oswald Chambers speaks to this, saying, "if you do not walk in the light of that vision, you will sink into servitude to a point of view which Our Lord never had. Disobedience in mind to the heavenly vision will make you a slave to points of view that are alien to Jesus Christ." The bottom line is each time we disagree with Jesus about a point in our life, we are adopting someone else's view point and giving it priority over Jesus' viewpoint. Whether it's in the area of entertainment, business practice, or some other area of our lives, each departure further removes us from the mind of Christ until we ultimately reach the point of doing what we want and only asking God to bless it (or just hoping He doesn't find out!).

Will you join me in this one resolute change: when Jesus speaks to an area of my life, I resolve to quickly and forever align myself with His will? That, I think, is a resolution worth keeping EVERY DAY, and not just in January of 2010.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Encouragement? Prophecy? or Both?

In my retreat time this morning, I was reading John 14 - 16. It's an amazing 3 chapters about the Holy Spirit, Jesus' relationship to Father and Spirit, and the connection of all 3 to us. Being 3 of my favorite chapters of Scripture, I read them often, but was deeply impacted by them this morning in a way not the norm for me.

I tend to read this passage and find encouragement for my life in the Holy Spirit's role/connection for me. I enjoy phrases like "Do not let your hearts be troubled," and "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." They remind me of the intimate connection we have to Father because of Son by indwelling of Spirit. And rightfully so. Jesus Himself says that He is telling us these things "so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Have you ever read these chapters as prophecy, though? Look at the progression of events in these chapters. Jesus will be gone for a short time and then return. He will send the Holy Spirit when He leaves for good. The disciples will have questions now, but then all things will be clear. Greater things will be done by them. They will be scattered for a time. They will be hated by the world, yet overcome it. Their grief will turn to joy. They will be put out of the Synagogue. In a passage where most find comfort, Jesus in a very detailed way outlines the rest of their lives for them!

And, just as He said, they are with Him, dessert Him, have their grief turned to joy, walk with Him a bit longer, receive the Holy Spirit, and never doubt again. They turn the world upside down, and in spite of being martyred, they have peace in this world. They heal the lame and blind, raise the dead, speak in languages they've never learned, and are noted as ordinary guys who are changing the world because they had been with Jesus. These three chapters of John so closely parallel the Book of Acts that I am amazed more people don't teach on this! We turn to these chapters for comfort. But do we turn to them for prophecy and to see if our lives are "lining out" like people who truly have received His Spirit?

As Jesus wraps up this prophetic/encouraging discussion with His friends, He says, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." What did the Disciples end up asking for? That their lives be used up for Him, His kingdom, and His glory. And that's what He did with them, and they received a joy that was complete. A joy so complete that Paul and Silas could sing as they are beat nearly to death (Acts 16).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finite Minds

I'm noticing an increase in the number of conversations I'm having with people about things our finite minds can't wrap around. Most recently around the idea that God sovereignly saves BUT man is still responsible to respond.
I don't know if this represents a significant shift in people's awareness of Biblical paradox, or if people feel like they have become smart enough to grasp infinite things with their finite minds.

As a follower of Jesus, we serve a God who is not confined nor constrained by "the possible." He works beyond our frame of reference, outside the time line. It should not surprise us that there are things that are a reality in spite of our inability to grasp them. For instance, no matter how simply you break it down, all of our best analogies to explain the Trinity fall short. I've heard most of the comparisons, like the apple, egg, or even our own existence. And while saying the Trinity is like an egg is a beginning place for the trinity, the shell is never the yolk is never the white. The apple, although being core, skin, meat, and seeds, has never been on earth while talking to itself in heaven and promising to send itself back once it goes away (John 14-16).

The reality is we will never grasp this side of eternity many of the intricacies that surround our HUGE God or the way He operates. But the truth is that brings me great comfort. Knowing that God can't be explained or fully understood is one MORE reason He can be trusted and looked to for the impossible! He inspires trust and hope because He is unlike anything we will ever experience! And while some wrestle to wrap their brains around Him, I strive to let Him wrap me in His paradoxical presence and just be amazed by Him.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Yo May Yo

Yo May Yo? That's Chinese for "have or don't have." That's the thought that came to mind this morning as I contemplated this statement from Francis Chan: "if we woke up tomorrow and discovered that it is not true the Holy Spirit lives inside us, most likely our lives wouldn't look much different."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

How Many People

Reading 3 books at the moment (why do I do this to myself?). On page 32 of Francis Chan's "Forgotten God," he presents this assertion in form of a question that I thought might be a good discussion point:
"This may be a silly illustration, but if I told you I had an encounter with God where He entered my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn't you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jump shot, my defense, and my speed on the court? After all, this is God we're talking about. And if you saw no change in my athleticism, wouldn't you question the validity of my 'encounter'?"

How many people across America say that the Holy Spirit has entered them, and yet there is no supernatural living present in their lives? What does it really mean to be born again? Surely this is the point that Paul is discussing with Timothy in 2 Tim. 3 when he tells Timothy, "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

Or, perhaps this is the frustration James is dealing with in James 3, when he poses the question, "Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?" James sums it up when he says, "these things ought not be so."

But how do we get past this? The first thing I am doing is to open God's Word in search of any preconceived ideas I've had about Jesus and His work in my life; or what it means for me to be the place God's Spirit dwells now. IF God has invaded my being, what are the things in that should be improving? How about you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chewing on this

I've been chewing on this from McManus' "The Barbarian Way,"

"Yet, Christianity over the past two thousand years has moved from a tribe of renegades to a religion of conformists. Those who choose to follow Jesus become participants in an insurrection. To claim we believe is simply not enough. The call of Jesus is one that demands action. Jesus began His public ministry with a simple invitation: 'Come, follow me.' His closing instructions to His disciples can be summarized in one word, 'Go!' A quick survey of the modern church would lead you to believe His invitation was 'Come and listen,' and His closing mandate would be summarized in the one word 'No!' The tribe of Jesus, above all people, should rightly carry the banner, 'Forward.'"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It's been a LONG time since my last post. I am in the process of some major changes in my life, family, and ministry (all of them good, so no worries). But the truth is I haven't had time to blog and I honestly miss it. So, starting in the days to come, I will be renewing my efforts to actually post something that I'm chewing on at the time!

Pace Bene,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Toby Wimberley Update Page

Toby Wimberley, a dear friend and long time member of The Heights Fellowship, was in a serious motorcycle accident with an 18-wheeler Monday afternoon. He was immediately rushed to University Medical Center with several broken ribs, a broken patella, a perforated intestine, and a severed artery, severely bleeding internally. He was immediately rushed into emergency surgery to stop the bleeding and begin repairing his injured organs, but was bleeding so severely he began to become unstable. They stopped the surgery after repairing the severed artery and he slowly began to stabilize.

Tuesday 9-22-09

Over night, his heart rate and fever were both elevated enough prevent the surgeons from continuing the surgery on Tuesday morning. To better understand the enzyme levels and performance of his heart they implanted a monitor into his heart so they could better evaluate the next procedure. As the day continued his fever and his heart rate slowly began dropping and the surgeons took him back into surgery just after 2:00 P.M.

4:30 p.m.
Toby came out of surgery at 4:30 P.M. with a great report from his doctor. They finished up the surgery they started yesterday, checked his colon, and repaired minor damage to his spleen. Now we wait until Friday when they plan to close him up and repair his pelvis.

8:00 p.m.
Just got to see Toby. The nurse said he is in Critical but stable condition. His blood pressure is good. He has an elevated heart rate, but it has been consistent all day, so they are pleased with it. Toby is still intubated and sedated, but his color is back and he's doing well. The way the nurse put it is He's not out of the woods yet, but we can see the edge of the trees. Keep praying. Later I will recount the story we heard from a nurse on all of the divine appointments that happened to keep Toby with us!

11:59 p.m.
At midnight, the nurse said Toby's heart rate has dropped back down to a better level and his vitals are still looking good. Recovery from his first surgery is going well and they plan to go into surgery to repair his pelvis on Friday. I gave him a 5 minute pep talk and prayed over him, as I know many of you are praying too. Keep it up!

Wednesday 09-23-09

8:00 a.m.
After checking on Toby several times by phone last night, we found out his heart rate is good and vitals are stable. He's still listed as critical, but he's been stable for 15 hours! We are almost through the 1st 48 hours, which the docs had said would be the most critical time frame.

8:00 p.m.
They were able to take Toby off of his ventilator this morning and he is breathing on his own. His vitals are still at very good levels and he is very responsive. Surgery is still planned for Friday to work on his pelvis and close his abdomen

9:30 p.m.
Toby has had a myriad of visitors this evening. He's looking a lot better. In addition to his stats being well, his color is good, and he is responding to people coming in to see him. They are putting him back on the ventilator for the night since he is so tired. We'll update again in the morning. Thanks for all the prayers. Keep it up

Thursday 09-24-09

2:30 a.m.
Just checked in on Toby, and his nurse said they have his blood pressure down and his heart rate under 120! That's great news. In the words of his nurse, "Toby keeps trucking along!" I know his family is very grateful for all that has been done for them, and all the support shown during this tough time. Thank you.

8:45 a.m.
They just came out and let us know that they have moved Toby's pelvic surgery and the closing of his abdomen to RIGHT NOW! The surgeon has already come out and they are ready to roll him back. This is the next big step that Toby's taking early. Seems like he does everything early! I'll post back here when they let us know how it went.

3:45 p.m.
Toby came out of surgery well. They fixed his pelvis, and seem hopeful to fix his knee cap. They also performed an appendectomy while they were in there. Everything seems to be healing quite nicely. The other news is that the skin and muscles over his stomach are not going to be able to be closed at this time. They are going to keep him "vacuum packed" for the next 2 weeks while they try to skin graft and mesh wire his outside closed. They will be doing skin grafts over the mesh to try and eventually get him "closed" back up. He will be here at least 2 more weeks, and he is still listed in critical condition. KEEP PRAYING!

Friday 09-25-09

8:00 a.m.
Toby had a steady night last night. No real news or changes. The plan for today is to begin to wake him up from the pain meds and take his breathing tube out. His blood pressure is a little elevated, but his pulse is good.

11:30 a.m.
The staff decided to try to move Toby around and get him ready to be extubated. He didn't like that too much, so he's back on the ventilator. They have decided his "fussy" reaction to their work was because he isn't awake enough to not fight them. So, they are working him off of his meds to try to get him awake and they will try again. Keep praying.

9:00 p.m.
Toby is semi-alert/semi-awake. I was able to talk to him a little bit. They decided to re-sedate him for the night since they won't extubate him until tomorrow. Good news is that they are planning to take the tube out. The bad news is that it's pretty painful for him. In typical Toby fashion, I walked in to find him "fighting" with the nurse. The nurse was trying to get him to relax his arm and Toby didn't want him messing with it. I walk in and hear, "I know you're awake, Toby. I know you can hear me and are just being ornery!" I had to laugh! Since we're not expecting any changes, this will be the last update for today. Keep praying and keep sending those letters of encouragement. Shelby's reading them.

Saturday 09-26-09

8:30 a.m.
Toby has passed all the respiratory tests, so they have extubated him. He is greatly agitated right now, so we haven't been back to see him yet this morning. It was an up and down night with his heart rate and blood pressure. Usually the morning visitation comes along with a briefing from his overnight activity, so I should have more to post soon.

10:15 a.m.
They had to reintubate Toby. Apparently he started fighting pain and being aware of where he is and became agitated. His blood pressure and heart rate became too high so they put him back on the tube and back on the vent/CPAP. Almost immediately, after they put the tube back in, all of his vitals came back to the good range, so they are going to try again tomorrow.

8:30 p.m.
Toby has spent most of the day sedated again. He's had a rough day. Nothing life threatening, but tough nonetheless. They have been feeding him through a tube, and his body seems to be processing the way that it should. So, we will pray for a restful night for him so that his procedure goes well tomorrow. He will have his abdomen repacked and evaluated for closing tomorrow. Monday's schedule includes his knee rebuild, so we're praying for strength and healing for him.

Sunday 9-27-09

7:00 p.m.
Toby has had a very restful day. He underwent a procedure this morning to repack and reevaluate his abdomen for closing now that his organs have had a few days for the swelling to decrease. The procedure went very well, however, they still were not able to close him up because his muscles have retracted some. After their evaluation, they still plan to do a skin graft over the next few weeks. He has been very relaxed and has rested peacefully for the day with good vital signs. They plan to work on his knee tomorrow.

Monday 09-28-09

8:00 a.m.
Toby had some fever last night. The good news is his heart rate and blood pressure are really good. He's been fighting fever for a while, but that's nothing new. The fever has been a recurring thing. They have not yet taken him back for knee surgery, but that's on the schedule for today. I'll update when he comes out of surgery.

11:30 a.m.
Toby came out of surgery a few minutes ago. The surgeon was pleased with the operation, and says the knee is rebuilt. They had to do some drilling so that it would stimulate blood flow. At some point today we should hear what is coming up next.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Fragile Nature of Life

I got a text yesterday during staff meeting from Shelby saying Toby had been in a motorcycle accident. Toby is one of my closest friends. You may have seen him in our "Wild Hogs" pictures. Toby's that guy that can fix anything, and is always the first to show up and help with something.
The text said Toby had been in an accident, and has some broken ribs and a broken knee. So, we bailed on staff meeting and headed that way, expecting to find a bruised and sore Toby.

Got to the ER, and Shelby hadn't been able to see Toby yet, so we camped in the ER waiting room eagerly awaiting a report on my surely road-rashed friend. That's when we found out that they had to rush Toby into emergency surgery upon discovering a building amount of fluid in his stomach. Turns out he had severed an artery in his abdomen, and nearly bled to death internally. Upon further examination, his knee cap is shattered, pelvis broken, internal organs (intestines, possibly colon) had perforated, and multiple ribs broken. His status went from banged up to critical in a matter of minutes. After 5 hours of surgery, they had to close him up because his vital signs became unstable. They still have work to do on his organs, pelvis, and knee cap.

The thing about Toby is that he is, by nature, a fighter. He doesn't accept the fact that an obstacle can block your path. This man doesn't take "No" for an answer. I'm honestly surprised that he doesn't have a clause in his files stating that he gets to assist on any repairs done to himself. We were joking with him last night about having his hands restrained in order to keep him from fixing himself.

It's been a rough night but Toby is fighting. The SICU doctor told Shelby that the next 24 - 48 hours would be crucial, so we're almost halfway done with that. Please be praying. I know Toby would tell us to go on with the stuff that needs to get done and not to worry about him. But I am asking you to spend a significant amount of time in prayer for him today. Toby is that guy that literally is there for anyone and everyone. The most generous man I know, he embodies the Christian spirit of service and sacrifice. Join me in praying Toby out of danger and onto recovery.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Broken Little Heart

I have had a pretty crummy day. Nothing really bad happened. But I had to tell my little warrior that he didn't achieve his Black Belt today. It has weighed heavily on me all day, kinda overshadowing what was otherwise a pretty decent day. As the day winds to an end, I know that I will always remember walking into the room where Jeremiah was getting his gear together and breaking it to him that he didn't make it. It was SO STINKING HARD to look him in the eye and tell him the news.

However, in a society where kids are told they never fail, where child athletes are told "everyone wins," a valuable lesson was learned today; for Jeremiah and myself.

First, Jeremiah told me through the tears that he knew he hadn't performed at an expert level. He knew he hadn't done well, but he had hoped it was enough. We were able to have a REALLY good talk about what it means to be a Black Belt, and how it's so much more than just knowing the material. There is a proficiency level that accompanies the knowledge. The Black Belt test isn't like other belt tests. Other belt tests tend to be more "pass/fail" tests. But the Black Belt test is more of an assessment of the students abilities to determine if they are an expert in their art. For instance, a student seeking to advance from orange belt to yellow belt needs to show a proficiency commensurate with that belt, seeking to show their progression. The Black Belt, however, must demonstrate that he/she has mastered all of the materials for all of the belts and is able to teach, model, and instruct. Where as the potential orange belt may progress with a score of 70%, the student seeking his/her Black Belt must perform around 90%. In our conversations today, Jeremiah conveyed he felt like he'd failed. As we talked it through, however, he discovered that he passed the test, just not at the level he needed to. While heart broken about it, it served to remind him of his responsibility to the Belt and to motivate him to be that much better when he tests again in a month.

Second, I learned that sometimes heartbreak moves us to excellence. As much as I hated to tell him that he hadn't gotten his Belt, and as deeply hurt as he was, I was able to walk through it with him and share a life moment with my son. Life is going to be full of these moments. As a dad, I HATE when my kids are hurting, and do everything I can to protect them from hurt. But not only is that impossible, but it's not healthy for my children. Hard times will come. There will be greater disappointments in life than not receiving his Black Belt. The greater lesson is learning how to handle set backs. How I coach him through disappointment will be a lesson he will carry into life. If I divert the disappointment, what does he gain? At best, he gains a belt he didn't earn. At worst, he learns that he doesn't have to face failure. The reality check for me today was to hurt with him, hurt for him, and understand that this makes him not just a better Martial Artist, but a better person.

Third, and you knew it was coming if you know me, there is a spiritual application. "The Lord is near the broken-hearted." Psalm 34:18 Perhaps we spend too much time trying to be comfortable and successful and miss a major way that God makes His presence known to us. As a parent, do I rob my children of an opportunity to deepen their faith by shielding them too much? Even as I write this, the Daddy in me is screaming, "How could I ever let my kids suffer? There's no such thing as protecting them too much! They are MY kids!" But I don't think that's it. I think that the place I landed today is that failure is a part of life and failure is a means of deepening our faith. Today I was able to hold my little boy, encourage and connect with him in a meaningful way, and point him to never giving up. And maybe, just maybe, he will find the same comfort and counsel in God's arms when the failure is much greater.

Just in case you read this, Buddy, I love you and am proud of you. I know that you will take today and build from it. Keep your chin up, your eyes bright, and get done what needs to get done. And, most of all, remember that God is nearer to you than you can know.

And I also need to say "Thank You" to Master Jason for shooting straight with Jeremiah. It would have been easy to say, "Close Enough." But that wouldn't have been right nor what's best for Jeremiah. I know it was tough, but you did the right thing, and I appreciate that. I whole heartedly believe that Jeremiah will more deeply appreciate his ability when he reaches his next goal because of today.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Asia Is Around The Corner

It's almost here! In October, my entire family, along with some friends who are as close as family, will be heading back to our city in East Asia. I am excited about my family going with me. It will be all three of them's first time out of the country. And what a GREAT opportunity for them to be a part of changing the world. I've asked them to tell me why they want to go, and here's their responses:

Jeremiah (my 9 year old son):
"I want to go because I want to share Jesus with some people. I want to see what it's like there and see what people do. I hope we will reach lots of people and that they will start spreading [The Gospel] with their friends."

Cayla (my 7 year old daughter):
"All my life I've known Jesus wanted me to go. I was 5 years old, I think, when I felt like God told me to go there. I've been waiting to go ever since."

Caryn: "I want to go with y'all for the same reasons you want to go. I want to share the Hope with others that they otherwise wouldn't know about."

Have I told you her story? When she was 5 years old, while riding her tricycle in the driveway, God called her to Asia. She came to me sobbing, unable to breath, as if something horrible had happened. After I got her calmed down, she said to me, "I'm gonna miss you and mommy!" and started crying again. When she finally calmed down, she told me she was going to miss us when she is in C**** telling people about Jesus! Not only was it the moment of her calling, but God used it to call me, too. He used her to set things in motion in my life going to East Asia to prepare the way for her to go. And now, 2 years later, she can barely contain herself that she gets to go AND she doesn't have to say goodbye to us to be able to go!

Here's where you come in: For our family to go will take around $8k. It's going to take even more than that in prayer support. If you'd be willing to help with prayer, finances, or however God leads you, would you drop me an e-mail at ? We have to get the ball rolling on Passports this week.

Thanks in advance for helping us follow Cayla's calling!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Funny Quotes

WOW! Really? May 28th was my last post here? What can I say? It's been a busy summer.

Let's start the conversation back up with something light-hearted, like this!
1. Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model: "I wan' all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan' all the kids to copulate me.."

2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."

3. And, upon hearing Joe Jacobi of the Skin's say:"I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,"Matt Millen of the Raiders said: "To win,I'd run over Joe's Mom, too."

4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins "He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings."

5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann: "Nobody in football should be called a genius like Norman Einstein."

6. Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh : "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes." (Now that is beautiful)

7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle."

8. Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison: "Why would
anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton ."

9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: " That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."

10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is."

11. Chuck Nevitt , North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be and aunt or an uncle (I wonder if his IQ ever hit room temperature in January)

12. Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player: "I told him, 'Son,what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'Coach, don't know and I don't care.'"

13. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D: "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

14. In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford, I can go to my left or right, I am amphibious.

15. Amarillo High School and Oiler coach Bum Phillips when asked by Bob Costas why he takes his wife on all the road trips, Phillips responded: "Because she is too d*** ugly to kiss good-bye.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When your student gets it...

I never get tired of seeing s student "get" what they've been learning. It's that "a ha" moment where they actually do what they've been taught. I am writing about this instance, though, because I have been teaching this for 3 years now, and not many have taken it and put it into practice. However, for one of my students it has happened.

A young lady that I really met about a year ago has had that moment. In her workplace, she felt led to be a praying/studying presence for the other employees. So she took the initiative (after some DIVINE prompting) and asked another lady if she would like to meet once a week over lunch and just read the Scriptures and pray together there in the office. It turns out that the lady she asked had had a dream the night before about this very thing. So, she said yes. A couple other ladies heard about what was going on, and asked if they could join. It has been a HUGE success! I'm measuring the success not by the numbers of people coming, but by WHAT has happened.

One thing the ladies do is they right on the office white board various prayer requests. Now, others in the office stop by through out the week and place their requests there, too.

At first, there was resistance from some people in the office, even animosity towards people wanting to have a spiritual event in the work place. Now, those people are connecting and being loved on and prayed for. They are even considering being a part of the group.

And, as I suspected would happen, one young lady even called the group her church home. That's tangible kingdom right there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs

I watched a GREAT video this morning. Mike Rowe, of Discovery's "Dirty Jobs," does a 20 minute talk for some innovators in Silicon Valley. There's some great stories in it, but you also get a glimpse into a growing problem we have here in USAmerica. The devaluing of manual labor careers. Here's the link, and I have to say I agree with him on this. The question now is, what will I do about it?

Be sure to watch the WHOLE THING! His point comes in the last few minutes of the talk.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Day 5: Encouragement

Today was the kind of day that everyone needs once in a while. We spent the day mostly with people who are like-minded. Our day started with the opportunity to gather with other Americans here in the city who live here for business purposes. This was my third time to gather with them to lift up the name of our Dad in a Sunday gathering. All three times they have asked me to share from The Book for their gathering. It’s a truly humbling experience. It’s like Michael Jordan asking me for basketball advice! I am honored to even know these people, let alone call them my friends. They are the people that The Book would be writing about if it were still being written today. And to possibly think I have anything to offer them is laughable. I am honored and humbled to just be able to sit with them and share a part of our lives. It turns out that I am the one who comes away encouraged. When they gather each week, they share family business success and failures. To listen to them and hear their hearts shames me. As I’ve said before, and will every time I get to meet with them, these are the real heroes of our business. Especially Marcus and Katlyn. They are the youngest on this team, and yet they have such a vibrant and far-reaching impact on their friends and acquaintances. That’s not to say that every team member here isn’t just stinkin’ amazing! But I’m very proud to call Marcus and Katlyn “ours.”

From the gathering we went to lunch at The Sizzling Skillet. I LOVE THAT PLACE! It’s various fried meats and potatoes served on a fajita-style skillet. Mmmm! We shared the noon meal with some Americans here on business, and were encouraged by their work. When I first came to this country, they had only been here a few days, and had no language skills and no connections to the people they need to reach. Now, almost 2 years later, they are carrying on conversations in the native language and have a huge work going on with college students. They are the couple that we will return to encourage and support in October.

After lunch we did just a bit of shopping, then it was off for Karaoke! Here, Karaoke is called KTV (Karaoke Tele-Vision). And it’s different than karaoke in the USA. Here, you rent a private room that is fully equipped for your singing (lights, sound equipment, etc.) and it’s just and your friends that embarrass each other. We sang songs in English and Chinese with our local believing friends, having a GREAT time. I’ll have that video up before long. I left KTV encouraged by the playful nature of the first family members of Marcus and Kat’s business here.

We wrapped up Karaoke JUST in time to meet some friends and attend a tea ceremony. A tea ceremony consists of brewing and tasting various kinds of teas. In our case, it was gua tea and oolong tea. The lady brewing the tea gave us all kinds of fascinating information about tea and it’s brewing during our time together. Apparently there are 21 steps to the perfect cup of tea. And I watched all 21 steps with great fascination. The group we were with was ½ family and ½ almost family. I was able to speak to them as a group and encourage them each to take the necessary steps for their relationships.

The night ended with us doing a broadcast back to the states with a trip update. We connected through Marcus and Kat’s internet and shared some of what we’ve seen here. In listening to the stories, I am encouraged about the business here. As Lindsey and Lissa shared, the people who became like-minded with us last trip have been sharing with their non-like minded friends, which is AWESOME

I’m sure by this point that I am rambling…I am falling asleep as I type, so I’m off! Keep lifting us up. We have some hard conversations tomorrow, and I nearly just smashed my face into the keyboard falling asleep! I’ll send more later!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Day 4: Surprises

Today was not nearly as full of different activities as the other days, and yet I am more exhausted than any other day so far.

When we awoke this morning, the weather was too foul to go out, so we hung out at the hotel and journaled for half an hour. Then we headed out to meet a few of our friends. We had invited 3 or 4 people to go with us to Bi Jia Shan, The Natural Land Bridge. It’s a beautiful place on the coast (JZ is a coastal city) where you can walk to this mountain/island when the tide goes out. You have about 2 hours to get there or you’ll need to rent a boat to get back.

Surprise #1: The size of the group. When we got to the bus station to meet our group, the 3 or 4 had turned into 7, making 11 of us in total. When we got to Bi Jia Shan, and saw that it was 40 RMB ($6.50) per person to get in. Then it’s another 10 RMB ($1.60) per person to get a boat and another 10 RMB ($1.60) per person to climb the mountain. When it’s all said and done, to take this large group to the mountain would have cost $150! So, we decided to go exploring instead. We hiked through someone’s yard and actually made it down to the beach for some breath-taking scenery and fun pictures. As we hiked, we actually made it into the park, but were told by some attendants that we would need to go back out and buy tickets! We opted to head home instead and share a meal.

Surprise #2: The Conversations. During our exploring and our lunch, we had the opportunity to share much with all of the students that came with us. One thing we taught them is how to add “Your Mom” to the end of anything anyone says and make it into a joke! That was a hit! We also got to share things of lasting importance with them. Some of them are people who have already become family to us. Some are considering it. Two of them were friends who became family to us on our last trip here, but had not yet gone swimming in our family’s tradition. We are encouraging them to do that, as well. It seems like times like this always wind down with no one wanting to actually leave. We all just sit, knowing it’s time to go and no one actually leaving. As we left the restaurant we told our friends we would see them again before we leave.

Surprise #3: The Change In Topic. Now, on a trip like this, it feels like we eat, eat, and eat some more. We left lunch to go back to our rooms and get cleaned up so we could meet some other friends for dinner! We ate light and then headed to the home of some friends where we were going to talk about marriage and dating relationships with a group of young adults.. It was supposed to be an hour long meeting, but it went 4 hours! By the time it was done (which was when I began this update) I was exhausted. Instead of talking about relationships, it became a detailed conversation about how to become family and why everyone needs Dad. The topics ranged from the here-after to present help in trouble to how could Dad love everyone and have plans for all of us. It was GREAT conversation. But it took a LOT of active listening. When the evening came to a close, our friends were teetering on the verge of becoming family, making it a very productive night. It would be great if you would spend some time talking to Dad on behalf of these new friends.

Surprise #4: We Are Almost Done. As for us, we are exhausted, but elated. I think our body’s clocks are finally on local time. We hit a groove with what to order at local restaurants, and we have an idea of what we are working towards with our friends. The next part of the trip is the “sweet spot,” so to speak. Unfortunately, tomorrow is our last full day! It seems like it always happens that way. We will make the most of it, though. We have a lot to do in the next 48 – 60 hours! yarP for us!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Day 3: Playing

Our theme for today was “play.” Our great teacher said that unless we become like children, we will not see His kingdom. I think a great part of that is the art of playing.

Our day started at 5:30 a.m. when we began to prepare for our trip to what Lindsey has started calling “Our Park.” It is actually the North Park and part of the zoo, or Dong Wu Yuan. It is the park we adopted last year to speak to Father about every day. During our time here last year, we made friends with many Senior Adults who go to the park to exercise for a couple hours every morning. Their exercise routine consists of Tai Chi, sword forms, and ti jienza (kick feather). We usually walk and talk to Dad during the Tai Chi and sword forms. Then, when our friends are done and start to play ti jienza, we join in. Ti Jienza is like hacky-sack, but with an oversized badminton birdie-like toy. And man can these Senior Adults get after it! They are kicking it behind their head, aiming for their next victim, er, I mean target, and leaping through the air like some graceful dancer choreographing an elaborate and improvised performance. Then we jump in and throw off their groove! They truly are amazing to watch. Last year, not only did I fall in love with this sport, but the outfits that they wear, as well. In fact, the lady that makes their outfits for them actually came to the park, fitted me, and hand made me an outfit. She did have to charge me extra because I am much bigger than the people she usually sews for! Well, this morning was our first time back to the park since our last trip, and the first time for any of them to see my new outfit. When we came into the park, they stopped what they were doing and came over to feel my outfit, say hello, and feel my outfit some more. After that, we walked the park talking to Yesu about our friends and asking Him to reach out to them. Our requests were followed by 2 hours of Ti Jienza, and much coaching from our friends on proper form. It is so nice to be able to lay aside language barriers (none of them speak English) and just be able to play together. For hours we can have this one thing in common; and just play. Our time this morning was cut short when a disagreement happened between the local care taker and one of our friends. We saw that as our sign to bail.

From there we headed to lunch with some friends. One of them is a friend we met last time, and one is a new friend who is learning English for his college degree. We shared a great lunch as we helped our new friend try to grasp the concepts of humor, sarcasm, and English idioms. He was much more confused afterwards than he started out!

After lunch, we caught up with two of our friends from our last trip, Wally and Oscar. These friends met Dad on our last trip, and decided they wanted to be in the family. So our afternoon with them was a sweet time of catching up and encouraging each other in the way of the Master. These two guys speak great English, and have a heart for seeking truth. We spent an hour having instant coffee and sharing life.

They accompanied us to visit with a new member of the family. “Van Gogh” united with our family over the Easter weekend as a result of being involved in a family project on Easter Sunday. Van Gogh had some questions about The Book, and about growing in our family’s traditions. He had some really good questions that we spent a couple of hours answering. Wally and Oscar even jumped in to help us explain some of the answers in Chinese. That was cool! And Van Gogh brought his roommate, Brad, with him. Brad is not yet family, but is considering the truth of The Book, and of Father. All four of them will be traveling with us tomorrow as we go site seeing! We are hoping to help Wally and Oscar grasp more of the family business, and to better understand their roles in the work of the family. We are hoping to connect Brad with Wally and Oscar so that they can mentor him in The Book and in the work of the family. AND, we are hoping Brad will become family. So our big request for Saturday is that Dad will expand the business greatly in this city and in these people.
On my last trip to this country, I had the opportunity to lead a parenting forum where parents got together to compare and contrast parenting in our countries. One of the things that parents here mentioned was that they wished their children knew how to play. With so many people and so few jobs, the best jobs only go to the best students. So, students are pushed from grade school through college to make studying their priority. These parents said they could remember being kids and playing outside until the streetlights came on. This generation of students has never known a life like that. When it comes to a night like tonight, then, students get to experience something rare: a night of playing. We brought Jenga, Ker-Plunk, Uno, Phase 10, Trouble, Sorry, and a couple other games for “Western Game Night.” The students come for the English conversations (all of them can speak English, but need to be better). But they experienced something different. One of our local friends reserves a room on the University campus, and we play and have conversations. And tonight was a great night. The room was PACKED full of students who rotate from game to game, giving them a chance to play many games, but also a chance to meet each of us. I shared pictures of my family, friends, motorcycle, and life in Lubbock. They had many questions! One of them finally said to me, “I think your family is a happy family. Is that true? And why?” And I was able to explain that my family is, indeed, a happy family because of the presence and guidance of my Father, who teaches us to live by loving and serving. It opened a door for me to share with 10 or so students. All in all, it was a GREAT night with many doors opened.

We wrapped up the night with a 1.5 hour massage. In this country, a massage like that costs around $12.50! And it’s different than in America. First, they put all of us in the same room with big screen TV’s, bottles of water, and comfy couches. You remain fully clothed for the massage, which starts with a foot washing. In a barrel of 200 degree water Then, in a systematic manner, the massage giver beats the fool out of you for an hour and a half! It’s like an episode of “I Love Lucy” where they bend you, punch you, pull you, and contort you in ways that make you appreciate the ability to walk afterwards. I’d never had my kidneys massaged before! At one point, the girl working on my back in kneeling on my back, digging her knees into my kidneys while trying to make a wish by ripping my shoulder blades apart. I guess I am getting used to it, though. Tonight’s massage was not as rough as the last one, which did leave me unable to walk!

From there, we headed back to the hotel for 6 hours of sleep before Day 4 begins. Thank you for your tending to our requests and making them your petitions to Dad. You are making a difference in the Far East. Lives are being changed and Father is expanding His business globally. The cool thing is that you get to be a part of it!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Day 2: High Places

Today is the day that is usually spent getting acclimated to the time change and getting familiar with the culture. So, to off set jet lag and to experience the culture, we went for a hike. We went to a local mountain park called Bei PuTuo. It is a beautiful location that seems to have grown around a Buddhist monastery and several shrines. I shot some cool video. While we were there, we hiked up to some of the shrines, which are built on the peaks of mountains. The belief is that these places are closer to the heavens, so you are closer to the spiritual world. In the old part of The Book, Father tells His children to go into the land that He has promised them. But He tells them to "tear down the high places" as they go. At first, it's just something you read. But once you get here, you see the high places and see people using these high places to try to appease the spirits of their ancestors. They offer fruit, incense, and even burn money at times trying to ensure that their dead ancestors are happy. I'll post some video of the high places when I get home. But it sure puts The Book into a different light to stand in those very places we are called to tear down. And I had a thought while I was standing there. "What if I did tear it down? What would happen?" I realized that if I physically destroyed this spot, the locals who use it would only rebuild it, and probably rally around the incursion upon their faith. So, instead, I spent time talking to Father about it, and spiritually tearing it down, so to speak. My heart was moved today by the amount of effort and futility that is spent in the pursuit of gods who are sub-par and cannot help you. So, will you join me in talking to Dad about helping wandering brothers and sisters to find Him and His light? I don't doubt for a minute that the enemy answers the prayers of these seekers in ways that keeps them mired in their false beliefs. Our calling is to tear down the high places, and I think that begins with speaking to Dad about them and the people drawn to them. But it also begs the question, "what are your high places?" What are the things you rely on to get a better life? Before we can tear down the high places in the lives of others, we must first tear down the high places in our own lives. Do you rely on your charm, wit, personality, money, influence, appearance, etc. to build a better life for you? To those that now follow The Way, The Truth, and The Life, our only source of strength and help should be Him. In relying on other things, we are building high places in our lives! Tear them down.

One of the cool things about today was that instead of hiking down, we discovered a zip line that went across the valley and to the parking lot where we parked. SO, I decided I would do the zip line. It was a blast! I was smoking across the top of this valley attached to two cables! But the even more surprising thing is that LINDSEY said she wanted to do it too! AND SHE DID! It was amazing. I'll post that video at some point, too!

From there, we had 2 amazing meals, some near death experiences in the taxis and bus, and a pretty usual day in this country of over 1 billion people. It's just a little bit past 10 p.m. here, and I have to be p-walking at our park around 6 a.m. so I'll end the update here with a request: talk to Dad about the many people we will get to visit with over the next 24 hours. College students all the way up to senior adults, we have many chances to show them all about the family business. So be sure to yarP for us!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Asia Trip, Spring 2009

I realized that I hadn't posted any of my entries for the Asia trip here. I got them onto my Facebook. So, here is Day 1's update.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Well, we've arrived in the city! We are checked into our hotel, and I am about to bed down for the night. It's weird having left US soil Tuesday morning (as it feels it's still Tuesday), but bedding down on Wednesday night. All total, in travel time, we were on the move for 23 hours. Trying to stay awake on the train ride from the capital city to our city was brutal. But we are alive and well. Tomorrow starts early for us. We will join American friends for breakfast, and to video conference back home with family so they can see we are well. If you are family, and would like to visit with us, be at THF at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night! I will be speaking with my students, and afterward, families can say hello. AND, since that is early morning here, I am now off to bed. I'll update more tomorrow!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Observation From East Asia

Having just returned from my 3rd trip to Asia, the greatest observation that stands out to me is that The Word is spreading there. One my first trip, I got to be involved in a new convert's observance of ba9tism, or what we call a swim party. On my next trip, I got to participate in an outreach that was sponsored by that student where we met 35 - 45 students, and out of whom 3 or 4 came to faith. During my 3rd trip, while we were sharing with new students, the ones who came to faith on our last trip helped us share, and had been sharing their faith on their own while we've been gone. It was very encouraging to me to see that the kingdom is not just being paid lip service. These new friends take it seriously, and understand that this Good News isn't just for them. Thanks to students like my friend pictured here (whose face I blurred on purpose!), the Good News is being taught to many.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Recent Travels

Just a few hours ago, I returned from NE Asia where I hung out with some friends, shared the Good News, and rediscovered some things about home that I often take for granted. I missed the scent of my wife's hair. I love getting hugs from my kids. But when I showed up at Cayla and Jeremiah's school today, she just grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let go! Never take for granted the hugs of your daughter. Jeremiah wanted to see pictures and here stories while he leaned against me. Never take for granted the lives that are impacted by the telling of your story.

Just a few minutes ago I realized how much I missed MILK, of all things!

I'm in full recovery mode, but am looking forward to narrating the trip here over the next few days.

In the mean time, my right ankle is swollen to the size of my calf, and is very painful. I think it's from the airplane, but I'm not sure. And I am trying to stay awake to force my body back into Texas time. Thanks for all of you who prayed for us, encouraged us, and financially supported us for this trip. Check back over the next few days for pictures, insights, and stories from the trip.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Blind Spots?

The Holy Week is upon us. I’ve been reading through John’s telling of Jesus’ life during this week. Usually, It’s John 13 that draws me in. But today, a passage in John 16 really caught my eye. It’s the interaction between Jesus and the Disciples in 16: 25-33. All of the events leading up to this moment, the miracles, the wisdom, the transformation of lives, and NOW they believe. I laughed out loud when I read Jesus’ words in v. 31, “You believe at last!” I imagine Him laughing as He says it! Like He’s saying, “FINALLY!” But what is it about this most recent discourse of Jesus that brings the Disciples to the place of finally believing? What exactly is it that turns the lights on for them? So I started really digging into this verse, and discovered that the Greek frames it as a question, “Do you now believe?” The Greek could actually go either way, but most see it as a question. I’m not sure why the NIV departs from the NASB at this point, but anyway…It seems that Jesus has shifted into “Yoda Mode,” and is asking them a question that will soon show them that they answered wrong, to some extent.

Although they do believe, and probably more so than before, Jesus begins to tell them that the events of the coming days will show them their lack of belief. Isn’t that how it seems to go for us? At the moment we think we have it all figured out, God awakens us to something that reminds us we don’t! Which brought me to a moment of reflection: What are the areas of my life that I think I have it all figured out? Where are the places that I neglect out of arrogance? And what will it take for God to turn my head enough to see something more clearly than before? Rather than assume that the Holy Week consists of this or that, seek out the Christ who was crucified and ask Him to enlighten you further into the sacrifice He made for you. Ask Him to do for you what He did for the Disciples by pointing out an area of your faith where you are going to falter. Just as the Disciples thought they had it figured out, Jesus say, “Oh yeah? Well, you’re all going to desert me in the coming days.” What are the areas in our lives we are in danger of deserting Jesus?

Pace Bene - Jason

Monday, March 09, 2009

Changing the parameters

Tonight I will be doing an experiment with my students. We are changing the parameters of a meeting we've been doing for a year. We're changing locations, changing format, and changing their role in the meeting. It's an attempt to get them to do more than think outside the box. It's an attempt to get them out of the box. Hopefully, by 7:30 tonight, I'll have a handful of adventurers and not a handful of whiners. Although, after 20 years of pastoral ministry, I anticipate the latter.

My goal is to shift the parameters of how they see their spiritual formation. As we continue to read "The Tangible Kingdom," we are moving into a section on doing. We've laid the foundation for why, now we come to the how. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.

For those of you reading this, though, let me challenge you to change your parameters. Take something you would normally do in your office, home, or an otherwise alone spot (reading, prayer, study, meeting, etc.) and take that activity to a local hang out. It can be the Mall, a coffee shop, or town square. See if it changes how you do what you are doing. And, if at all possible, take someone with you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Belonging ENABLES Believing

I've been a pastor for a long time. I started as an intern at Colonial Hills, where my youth pastors, Robert and Bart, and my youth sponsors (The Smiths, The Routens, and The Cochrans) invested in me greatly. I owe them all so much.

And over the years, I've served in all kinds of churches in various positions. I've been a youth intern, part-time Youth Minister in country churches, Youth/Music Minister in a country church and a couple small town First Baptist churches. I served as a Youth Pastor at a big First Baptist where the staff bailed and left me and a friend trying to keep the wheels from falling off! That was fun. I've been the Youth Pastor at a couple of big (1,000 members) churches, and am currently serving two churches that are very opposite. One averages around 800 in attendance on Sunday morning. I am the Associate Pastor there, working along side one of my closest friends and a great Pastor, Mike, whom I've known for almost the entirety of my ministry. The other church I currently serve in as Lead Pastor averages 20 people, meets on Sunday night in a coffee shop, and is composed mostly of friends gathered along the way. All that to say, "I've seen a lot of churches and a LOT of philosophies of being church." 

And one thing that keeps coming up is the shift in paradigm, or lack there of. In my generation, our culture had a basic understanding of church and to some extent Christianity. The general way most of us back in the day came to Christ was by coming to some sort of church activity. Even though I came to Christ through a friend sharing with me, I heard and experienced the Gospel at the Youth Events I was attending. In that day, you could say, "If you believe, you belong." And it was true. The moment I took a step towards Christ, the youth group embraced me and made a HUGE difference in my life. So many of those people I listed above were instrumental in that.

But the shift has come in this: most people aren't going to go to church to have their spiritual needs met. There is no longer a basic understanding between our culture and our churches. If anything, there is an institutional distrust of the church that permeates our culture. And yet, even here in Lubbock, TX., I watch church building after church building pop up in hopes that someone will be drawn there. Don't get me wrong! I am not anti building. I am anti "let's build a building so we don't have to go out there and be the church." Just this week I have gotten information from 3 new churches that are putting on a show, opening a building, and hoping to attract those who need Jesus. 

For those of you who don't know Lubbock, here's some statistics. Lubbock county is home to 255,000 people. Of those 255,000 people churches report around 120,000 are on their "role" as members. However, statistics show that the average church actually has about 37% of their membership in actual attendance, meaning that (and this is a high estimate) about 50,000 of the people of Lubbock County actually are involved with a church, leaving 205,000 people unchurched, dechurched, or poorly churched. Lubbock county has somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 evangelical churches last time I checked. Those 300 churches actually share the 50,000 attenders in one of the most prolific "church-hopping" communities I've ever been in. Bottom line: every new church that pops up with a building and hopes of drawing people to their "show" will only manage to segment the church hoppers and bight off their "market share" for a while.

Lubbock needs followers of Christ building relationships with the other 205,000 AND living Jesus-styled relationships with those they befriend. The paradigm is now (and Barry says has been for a long LONG time) Belonging ENABLES Believing. Think it through with me. Jesus was greatly criticized for being the friend of gluttons and sinners. He saw the value of reaching people by influence and relationship rather than the hopes that the local religious elite would homilize eloquently enough to draw them in. Where ever it is you are, whether it's Lubbock or China, Christ is calling you today to GO out to your spheres of influence and be Jesus for people. Build relationships. Be generous. Be sincere. Love deeply. Live passionately. And don't place your hope in a building or a program. Build a life that tells people they belong and includes them. In the words of St. Francis Assisi, "Preach the Gospel always and, when necessary use words."

Monday, February 16, 2009


Today I am keenly aware of how noisy my life is.  I spent the weekend with some friends at a secluded cabin in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  No TV.  No phones.  No Radio.  Of course, we went snow boarding, shopping in Santa Fe, and ate out quite a bit.  But when I walked in the door to my house yesterday, the TV was on and the kids were being kids.  The dog was barking and jumping.  My phone was dinging at me about text messages.  And as I sat on the couch after six hours in the car, I could feel myself becoming agitated.  That's when it hit me that the amount of sound around me was the source of my agitation.  I'm not faulting the kids for being kids, nor am I saying I couldn't have turned the TV off.  It was just an eye opening moment.  The fact of the matter is that I LOVE to hear my children playing, being kids.  There are many TV shows I enjoy.  And I even moderately enjoy our dog (some times).  But I need to have more of the quiet.  I need more of those moments in the recliner in front of a crackling fire reading a good book.  I need to turn off the phone/TV/computer/iPod more often.  It was good for my soul.  

And then I need to learn how to smoothly transition from stillness to necessary noise without losing my mind!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Is The Heights

If you'd like to see what we do at The Heights Fellowship click this link:
There's 2 videos there to check out. I'm particularly proud of the THF Power Team. YIKES!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Great Timing!

I love Google Maps and their "man on the street" photos of actual locations. If you look my address up, and do the street view, you can see my truck, my father-in-law's old truck, and our house still has 3 trees instead of 2 in the front. But this one is classic. Be sure to move up the street until you are right beside the empty field. Then look at the two guys in the field:


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Morning Bell

My friend, Ian Adams, is an Abbott in Oxford, England. He has a daily e-mail he's been doing called "Morning Bell." During the season of Epiphany, he's collected the thoughts and ideas of various theologians and shared his insight with me as a call to deeper spirituality. Today's really impacted me and I want to share it with you.

Metropolitan Anthony says: "we are a great deal more absent than God is."

See your prayer today as simply being present to God; who is closer than we can imagine.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh [1914-2003] was the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in Great Britain and Ireland. To read more on Metropolitan Anthony, you can go here:

More about Ian:
Ian's Faith Community:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Only Necessary Resolution

     Has it really been that long since I posted?  WOW!  The flu really kicked my butt for the last half of December into the first week of January.  I didn't really get over it until about 4 days ago.  Everything during that time is kinda a blur.

     Anywho, I'm excited about the new year.  I'm usually not a resolution person, so the New Year just brings a sense of anticipation for me.  But this new year was a little different.  I started contemplating what I could do differently.  I even thought it would be a good idea to see what the Scriptures suggest I do differently.  Boy, there's a lot!  But the more I began to dig, the more I realized that the changes I'd make are ones that God has to make...  It seemed pointless to me to make a resolution to do God's job for Him!  So, I really began to dig in for my part.  What can I really do?  I came across a Scripture I'd read before, but it jumped at me this time.  The Scripture is John 6: 28-29.  Some folks have come to Jesus and basically asked about making a resolution that would please God.  28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"   29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."  When you couple that with Galatians 5: 22-23, Philippians 1:6, 2 Cor. 5:17, Galatians 6:15 it becomes clear that every area of my life that could be better would be better if I'd just let God be God to me in that area.  If I would simply allow my belief in the one God has sent to consume my need to be my own deity, then those areas that need "resolution" would be resolved!  So, I made one resolution this year.  I will believe.  I will believe more, more passionately, more consumingly, more deeply.  I am resolved to believe!